Rosedale Ravine Reach

1.5 km: Down The Rosedale Ravine from Sherbourne Street to The Don River.

This reach is bordered on the north by South Rosedale and on the south by the high-rise towers of St. James’ Town, St. James Cemetery and the Don Vale neighbourhood. While the storm water runoff still flows down the valley, it does this in a very large pipe rather than an open stream. Sanitary sewerage flows via the Core Interceptor Sewer to The Main Sewage Treatment Plant at Ashbridge’s Bay, except in the case of a Combined Sewer Overflow episode when it is diverted into the storm sewer and enters the Don at the foot of this valley.

Click here to see sewers. Double click to remove.

Drumbsnab Castle Frank St. James Cemetery Don River The Dale


This reach may be entered by continuing on from the Yorkville Reach. Another way is from Castle Frank Subway Station, taking a path west of the station from Castle Frank Road down into the valley. After the Sherbourne Street Bridge, we pass under the Glen Road Foot Bridge which was one of the early routes into Rosedale. The Dale, an early great house, was located at the top of the north slope. It has been replaced by apartments around which have been planted such trees as Austrian Pine, Linden and Ash. The south side slope between Sherbourne Street and the subway bridge ahead has been recommended for restoration; see South Rosedale Valley Forest Management a proposed Task Force to Bring Back the Don project encourage recovery of native trees, shrubs and understory plants. Just before passing under the subway bridge, there is a path leading up to the left to Castle Frank Subway Station. This is what is left of the first road that led from Parliament Street, through and across the valley into this end of Rosedale. The subway bridge is enclosed to diminish the noise from subway trains, that would otherwise surge up the valley.

Immediately after passing under the subway we pass under the Bloor Street Bridge and come upon St. James’ Cemetery on our south west. There are more frequent Red Oaks, Basswoods and Silver Maples in this stretch. Beware of Poison Ivy! There is a patch of White Pine and Ash near pole 159 and some White Oaks near pole 163. As we approach Bayview, the woodland changes to one dominated by Manitoba Maple, Ash and Crack Willow with an under story of Japanese Knot Weed, Garlic Mustard and other less desirable species. A restoration project has been recommended for this area to beautify the intersection and improve habitat for birds and wildlife. On the ridge between the Rosedale Valley and the Don Valley here there is a remnant of Oak Savannah that has species such as White and Red oak, woodland sunflower, comandra and hazelnut. This ridge was also the location of Castle Frank the summer home of the Simcoes.

Cross with the light at Bayview and look across the railway tracks to a line of Crack Willows marking the location of the Don River. There is a bicycle path leading both up and down the Don Valley. This is part of one of Toronto’s Discovery Walks.

Return and take the path shaded by Black Locust, Crack Willow and Manitoba Maple, up into Wellesley Park. The path follows a little draw which is probably all that is left of Lamb’s Creek 0.3 km, which was known in mid nineteenth century as the most polluted stream in Toronto. Peter Lamb and his son Daniel had a tannery and glue factory here from 1849 to 1888 and also manufactured stove blacking. They dumped all sorts of toxic substances into the creek, but it was the terrible stench of the place that made the City Fathers to buy the property. The City buried the ravine with earth from the Rosedale ravine where Castle Frank Brook was being put into a sewer. It is unlikely that this stream was ever longer than a couple of city blocks. Daniel Lamb was an alderman for a while and gave the land for Riverdale Park to the City for a Zoo.

The cemetery seen on the south side of this path is The Necropolis. Crossing the park one finds oneself in Cabbage Town, at one time notorious as the largest Anglo-Saxon slum outside the UK. It is a short walk from here to Parliament Street where TTC busses can be caught. One could also walk up or down the Don Valley.